Archive for May, 2010

Two Second Place Finishes

The rain has started again on I-72 going through Illinois toward Springfield. We’re stopping there to eat and the headed home.

Both men’s and women’s teams were able to finish second in the team standings. The women finish there like clockwork chasing down Monmouth College. For the men it is their highest finish in nearly a decade.

Lindsey Gruenke and Megan O’Grady were able to win Track Performers of the Meet. This is the first meet I remember since O’Grady got to college that she didn’t race Jenny Scherer in a single race at the Midwest Conference Meet.

Coach Thielitz received Men’s Co-Coach of the Year. A fitting honor. When I saw the standings last night we were seventh and in a huge hole. I couldn’t even tell you how we took second. There were so many points left out there when things didn’t go right. It seemed like it was happening very often. But somethings went incredibly right. James Wankowski somehow won the Discus Throw. And Kevin Meyer somehow squeaked out a point in the 5000m Run. Somehow we pulled it off. And we did it away from our home track.

The women did great as well as they always do. St. Norbert put up another fight for second but the women’s team held steady at #2.

Now that my final meet is over I think the thing that I’ll miss the most is yelling split times to my teammates. Seeing them succeed. I never had a chance out there to be all-conference but they do.

Now my voice is hoarse but I couldn’t care less. It will proably return.

The hard part is coming having to say good-bye to everyone. I already had to say good-bye to two people, Stretch and Jay. Tonight there will be more.

I never cried when basketball ended. Or cross country or track in high school. It was sure. Still sad when I think about. But I was never close to those teams like this one. Our varsity basketball coach said we were the closest tight-knit team he had coach in 25+ years. That team was nothing like this one. This is a close team. The thought of not seeing these people on a daily basis is heartbreaking.

That is why this team is so dangerous going forward. They are willing to go to the ends of the earth for one another. The snowball has started and it will just continue to build in the right hands and I believe that it is in the right hands. And in time I see this team as taking down Monmouth’s empire.

We’re about to eat so I’ll end this before it gets sappy. But I will say this, this is my favorite team that I have ever been a part of and I am so proud of them. I will miss all of them dearly.

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Day Two

A view of the track from the fitness center. This my view for lunch yesterday.

The Night In Between Days

We now sit in seventh place overall on the men’s side. We always start out slow. I remember one year we were in last after the first day. We only have results from a quarter of the events though.

Sprints did pretty good so we should score a bunch of points in tomorrow in that. I would love to sneak out a second place finish. It will be tough but if things break right I think we can do it.

Personally this is going to be my final day as a Carroll Pioneer tomorrow. The end is nearing for me as the last truly competitive race will be the Walleye Run June 12th in Fond du Lac. It will be fitting to have my final race in my hometown. One last run to see how fast I can complete the five mile race in and how high I can finish. Looking at last year’s results top ten might be possible.

I’m still upset with how my race played out today but what Zach Andreski told me earlier today was true. “Two out of three ain’t bad.” I had unbelievable finishes to my cross country and indoor careers.

As distance runners we are requires to peak three times a year. That is incredibly hard to do. I was able to do it twice which is the limit to what most bodies can do in a year. I wasn’t able to pull one last rabbit out of the hat but I pulled two more than I thought with my race at regionals in November and Indoor conference in February.

Tomorrow I will wake up and I will root my team on to the best finish possible. I might be done running but I’m not done being a teammate.

The other three guys in my room have to race tomorrow so I will wrap this up here. Talk to you tomorrow.

First Thoughts After the Race

My first thoughts after my last race in a Carroll uniform. I ran a 39:43. My worst 10K time of the year but better than any 10K before 2010. Nonetheless I was upset with myself and how my body wouldn’t let me run faster.

It was a tough pill to swallow knowing that I’m done and it wasn’t a great race to go out on. It’s still a tough pill to swallow. It’s been great running for the orange and white these past four years.
Everyone who says cherish every moment is absolutely correct. It’s just 90 minutes after the race and there is nothing I wouldn’t give to have another race in a Carroll uniform. If you are still competing take advantage of every moment because it goes way too fast. When the hourglass is out of sand, it’s out of sand.

Sprint trials are going on right now for about another 45 minutes. Then we’ll be headed back to Springfield for supper.

Just Three Hours Before Race Time

I’m lying here on a couch trying to calm my nerves and conserve energy. I’m down a hall away from where everything is happening. Looking at my phone before writing this I realized what day it is, May 14.

Just six months ago was Midwest Regional for Cross Country. I said earlier that there is no such thing as a perfect race but that may have been perfect. The weather was excellent for running. I felt loose and I left it all on the line knowing I wouldn’t race again. I’m trying to remember how I felt then and get in the same state of mind. The problem is I can’t remember what that state of mind was.

I’ve had an incredible year and now I am one race away from having a great ending. My last cross country race I PR’d. My last indoor race I PR’d. Now I have my last outdoor race. Can I do it again?

The Stadium

A view of the field from the start of the backstretch.

There won’t be as many updates today as I will be busier than just sitting on a bus and I’m trying to conserve battery power. But I’ll keep you updated on what’s happening here in Jacksonville.

Night Before the Meet

As I promised I am writing one last time tonight from the hotel room. We’re on the third floor in humid Springfield, Illinois. The air conditioner is doing a good job of chilling the room I am sharing with steeplechasers Ryan Hanus and Jay Sparks and mid-distance runner Matt Hoffman.

This time tomorrow my career is over. One last chance to have the perfect run although I know that doesn’t exist. 15 years comes down to a sub 40 minute race.

I have often been able to come up with a top time in a big race. Now it’s that moment again and I have to come up big. Every time I am nervous. How many rabbits can I possibly pull out of my hat? Hopefully one more. Tomorrow we’ll find out at 3:15.